A Deeper Look Into the Book: Puberty is Gross But Also Really Awesome
Targeted Ages: Best for fourth grade (ages 9 and 10) and up, although even younger kids can benefit!
Overview: This is, hands down, the most gender inclusive, body positive puberty book for kids and adolescents that we've ever encountered. Period. (Pun intended).
This book is such a delightful departure from most puberty books. Author Gina Loveless speaks openly, honestly, and thoughtfully about tween's physical, social, and emotional needs. Her narrative voice feels like a warm, reassuring hug.
It's split into two parts; "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" discusses changing body parts, menstruation, body hair growth, height/weight/voice changes, acne, and sweat. The second part, "The Whole Body Approach," includes information about nutrition, screen time, friends/bullying, gender identity and expression, sexuality, crushes, and mental health.
What we love: Each chapter front loads important information told in a kid-friendly, easy-to-understand manner, an "Umm, is this weird?" section in a Q&A format, a "Wait, they know what about what?" section that shares fun facts, and a "Really Awesome!" section that reminds kids why they should appreciate and love their bodies and minds. The whole book is illustrated with emoji-like icons and helpful diagrams featuring bodies of varying skin colors.
Where the book succeeds: Gina Loveless uses phrases like "assigned male/female at birth" and "people who identify as ____." When she speaks about genitalia and menstruation, she does not associate any pronouns with these topics. She even includes safe, healthy information for gender expansive, trans, and non binary kids seeking to minimize the appearance of their penis or breasts. Finally, there is an entire chapter devoted to gender expression and identity and sexual expression that informs, relates, and reassures. This book is truly transformational.
Content warning: Loveless briefly mentions eating disorders, harassment, and abuse. She does not discuss any physical/sexual acts beyond kissing.
Want to buy it? Here's a link to purchase the book. Here's the author's personal website.